I have been doing this 750 word exercise where I start my day by writing 750 words. No topic, just writing as fast as I can with whatever flows from my brain to the keyboard. When I first did it I would write and stop and do a word count to see if I was close to 750 words. Like watching a clock at school. How the hell am I only at 100 words, 200 words. I would type and then think I must be done and check and only be at 500 words. I would do the same with my watch at school. It MUST be lunch time, I haven’t looked at my watch for a long time. Oh shit, it’s only 9:45???
But, what has happened these last few days is I type my 800th word I take the last sip of my morning coffee and boom, I am ready to start some of my actual work. I have noticed I am more efficient in the morning at my job. Weird effects of just starting my brain up and getting it moving. I guess I would relate it to maybe starting your car in the winter months. When you get in to drive the car it’s warm and inviting and ready for the morning commute.
What it also has done is open my heart a little bit. I notice I am not forcing my words. The word and emotions just start to flow and all the sudden I am crying thinking about a swimming pool. Don’t worry, I’ll explain a little later.
I’ve written about how car rides teach you a lot about your kids. Sure, the car rides when kids are in car seats are awful, crying for no reason, listening to Sesame Street songs over and over and over again. But, my kids are a long way from those days. I have teenagers and they listen to some awful songs, but I still find myself listening to them long after they have reached their destination. It keeps me close with them. I like that a lot. I never ever ever want to be that Dad that the kids are not able to talk to. It’s my worst fear in this world. It used to be my wife leaving me, because I was NOT a functioning human being just a few years ago. But, I worked on it. I worked on myself and once I realized I didn’t NEED my wife I wanted her more. It was really a great lesson for me. I didn’t NEED I wanted. It changed how I treated her. I didn’t make decisions out of fear of losing her, and it made our relationship the thing I take pride in. So, my biggest fear, or the thing I work on the most is my relationship with my kids. I learn way way more from them than I teach.
The other day my daughter walked in the house and asked me if she could give me a hug. She told me her friend was having a tough time with her Dad and they weren’t getting along and weren’t talking right now. She was telling that story later with her Nana and she said “Yeah, it scared me, but made me happy because that’s not my relationship with my Dad. Sure, we fight, but we NEVER won’t talk it out”. I nodded my head in agreement, while fighting the urge to tear up. It’s important to me how my kids feel about their relationship with their Dad.
It’s why I write about them as much as I do. I want them to know that years from now when I am gone just how I felt about them. But, the best part, or what I have learned from all my writings is THEY ALREADY KNOW. They don’t need the words on a website to know how their Dad feels about them. It’s funny to me in that way. I write about them the most and they don’t need dumb words on a page. I’m sure the words someday will mean something to them, but we talk so much that they know who I am. They know what they mean to me.
I love this journey I am on. I was always very fearful of what the teenage years would do to my relationship with my kids. I thought I would have to ignore and maybe even drink my way through them. But, what has happened has been so much better than I ever imagined. They let me into their worlds because they trust me. I don’t shy away from questions. I enjoy the challenges they face. I love watching them go through this world. I love being their home. I love being in the place they feel the safest. I love watching them dip there toes in the deep end of this world and learning to swim. I know someday they will diving into the deep end. I know someday they will swim further and further away. But, when they get tired or need a break I’ll be in the shallow end waiting to greet them. A place for them to rest their arms and legs and just be.
As parents, we give them the snorkels and life vests and oxygen tanks and maps to explore this world, but we know if they keep searching eventually they will find their way home. Whoever designed this earth made it perfectly round for a reason. If we do our jobs as parents they don’t need us, but if we are lucky they will once in a while swim back to us just for a hug.
I don’t know what I ever did to get to live this life with these people. I thank my wife for raising these girls and letting me sit in the pool and watch. I’ll be the Dad with the goggles on practicing holding my breath and having underwater tea parties and waiting on one of my girls to challenge me to a race or a handstand contest.